Violence Begets Violence

The Thursday night explosion which rocked the Hilton hotel in the Egyptian Taba resort on the Red Sea killed more than 30 people and injured more than 150, mostly Israelis.

It was another poignant event for me, as a Canadian of Egyptian origin, and it brought memories.

But, first, this tragedy immediately brought death, destruction and misery to so many people and it will also affect millions of Egyptians who make a living in the tourist industry, in Sinai and all across Egypt as the peak tourist season is as about to start.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility, but an Egyptian government spokesman linked the blasts to the Israeli military operations against the Palestinians in the neighboring Gaza Strip, where 84 Palestinians have been killed recently.

A Palestinian spokesman, however, told Al-Jazeera television no Palestinian factions were responsible for the explosion.

I stayed at the same hotel two years ago, enjoying the beautiful Red Sea underwater wonders and gazing at three nearby countries -” Israel, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The hotel is almost a stand alone in the Sinai desert peninsula fronting the red sea. It is a quiet place at night where tourists relax after a day of scuba diving and snorkeling. Most of the tourists are Israelis, both Jews and Arabs. The currency exchange rates make the place very attractive to them.

One night I engaged in a conversation with an Israeli Jew, "What do you Jews want from us Arabs and Muslims?" He encouraged me to continue with a smile, "We Muslims took care of you Jews when you were persecuted following the Spanish Inquisition and following the Russian persecutions. Do you think that now, with the help of the U.S., you can wipe out the Palestinians, then the Arabs and then the Muslims?"

The conversation did not go too far.

But only two weeks ago I met with Uri Davis, a Palestinian Jew, as he describes himself, while he was on a Canadian speaking tour. Professor Davis is an author of books on the apartheid Israeli policies. Mainstream Canadian media completely ignored this remarkable man’s message because it is not acceptable to the elite of Canadian Jews.

But Davis has a short answer to my blunt question "What do the Jews really want from the Palestinians, and from the rest of us; Arabs and Muslims?" He said it is greed that motivates the Zionists to follow an aggressive violent policy towards the Palestinians.

They want it all -” the land and they want the peace. They want to be the masters enslaving the Palestinians. This, he said, explains the apartheid wall, the daily killing of Palestinian men, women and children by the Israeli army, and the hidden apartheid legislation aiming for a Jewish dominated Israel, with Jews only as first-class citizens.

But violence begets violence. A Palestinian with no hope for the future, whose house and life have been bulldozed, who has suffered the death of one or more of his loved ones, is a ticking human bomb. He has nothing more to lose.

Israeli Jews spend more than 10% of their adult life serving Israel’s people army subjugating Palestinian civilians and bulldozing their houses in occupied Gaza and the West Bank. In the process of numerous military operations under the pretext to "root out terrorists" Israeli soldiers have themselves become killing machines -” to defend Jews living in illegal Jewish-only settlements on occupied Palestinian lands.

But the day will come when the blood of a Palestinian will be as valuable as the blood of a Jew. The day will come when the cries of a Palestinian mother grieving her lost child are heard as loudly and clearly as that of a Jewish mother who also lost a child.

The day will come when Western media treat as equally newsworthy the killing of Palestinian children over many days of terror as much as the killing of the same number of Jewish children in one moment of terror.

The day will come when western politicians, especially Americans, realize who are the aggressors and who are the victims in this conflict and stop believing that Israel can do no wrong.

And the day will come when Jews everywhere will go back to their early 1800’s conviction that the aggressive Zionist ideology is not good for any Jew.

Only then will violence no longer beget violence and only then will peace come to Jews and Palestinians alike. I hope and pray that I will witness that day soon, or at least in my life time.